Happy New Year! One of the favourite pastimes on New Year’s Day – especially in Europe and Asia – is listening to the Vienna New Year’s Concert. So, why not read about music too with 10 gems from our catalog?
One of the earliest ways kids are exposed to music is by listening to – and later singing themselves – old local songs. Thirteen can be found in our Folk Ballad Collection 001, both read and sung by LibriVoxers from all over the world.
If you prefer a more formal approach to music appreciation, Henry E. Krehbiehl will teach you How to Listen to Music. Written for what he calls “untaught lovers of the art”, you will learn, among others, when really to believe the critics.
Everyone’s a critic in the novella by Franz Grillparzer: Der arme Spielmann is obviously a dreadful violin player. But tread softly, and he will tell you the reasons behind it, buried with a long lost love.
Kaspar is also in a reminiscent mood. After his mother’s death, he, his uncle, and his cousin talk about his youth. Find out what’s behind the Confidences d’un joueur de clarinette in the French play by Erckmann-Chatrian.
Not in the mood for big revelations is Aaron. In the aftermath of WWI, he is unhappy and indifferent to most things, and just wants “to be left alone”. Aaron’s Rod by D. H. Lawrence sketches the life of somebody who has lost everything but his flute.
On the way to happiness is poor May Wedderburn in the book by Jessie Fothergill. After all, a wealthy landowner wants her hand in marriage. But she prefers to flee to Germany, where she hears her First Violin, and everything changes.
Lots of changes lie ahead for the Quire, a group of church musicians, when the new pastor decides to buy an organ. And their member Dick is in love with the new school mistress… Read the early novel by Thomas Hardy to see how things pan out Under the Greenwood Tree.
Big changes to music were brought by a composer and pianist from Poland. In Chopin: The Man and his Music, James Hunecker produces both a biography of the famous artist and a critical analysis of his works.
No need to be famous, to become a Cathedral Singer, is all a little boy from New York wants. He has the voice of an angel, a devoted mother, and everything’s possible in the US in the early 20th century… Or so we hope, in the novel by James Lane Allen.
If after all this, you want to learn more about music, we recommend the first formal book on Music Notation and Terminology, a 1914 classic by Karl W. Gehrkens. There you’ll find everything you need: musical terms, history, excerpts, examples…